Growing Lion

What a wonderful ride I had with my little lion Arshaq today!πŸ¦πŸ’› I am so proud!πŸ₯✨ Mom came along with Shahina as company but Arshaq got to go first most of the time.πŸ‘‘ We also practiced riding side by side and last, which is fine but not as fun according to both Arshaq and myself. πŸŽ πŸ’¨πŸ‡πŸΌβœ¨ We went up to the woods and were out for almost 2 hours, although I did walk next to him for about 50% of the time.πŸƒπŸΌβ€β™€οΈπŸŽ We took it very slowly, stopped for treats, I got on and off and at one point we needed some extra time to pass a menacing set of lawn furniture that was left out in the woods?πŸŒΏπŸ€– I would guess that we were out something like 9 km and we even got to trot a little bit, which was so much fun!πŸ‡πŸΌπŸ’¨

While I was walking back to the stable next to Arshaq on the road, quite a few cars passed us. Arshaq was brilliant and barely noticed them. I myself on the other hand.. was not so calm.. my heart almost exploded each time a car passed us and I had one really scary flashback when one of the cars was a little late in swerving away from us.. If only they knew how scared I get when they drive dangerously.. πŸš—πŸ’¨

After, we saddled up Popgun and Nipeta and rode back up to the woods again for another 1 hour of walking over roots and rocks! πŸŒΏπŸœβ„οΈπŸŒ˜

Now I deserve a cup of hot tea and dinner! πŸ™πŸ»πŸ’›

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Win a pair of Equestrian Star Power Grip Riding trousers *In collaboration with KE HΓ€stsport*

Don’t miss out on the competition I am doing on Instagram in honor of Valentine’s Day in collaboration with KE HΓ€stsport! Win a pair of Equestrian Star Power Grip Riding trousers worth 969kr.❀️

They also have a discount this week, which ends tomorrow! πŸ‘„

Does nothing succeed like success?

Picture is of Shahina at 24 years of age successfully completing a 50km endurance race at 12,3 km/h. She has since completed 2 more 40km rides and is now 26 years old.

We have a saying in Sweden that goes: “framgΓ₯ng fΓΆder framgΓ₯ng”.

(English: “nothing succeeds like success”.)

But if this saying is true.. what do you do when you do eventually fail? (Sometimes miserably)

I have listened to countless interviews with successful people (mainly athletes) who claim that what separates the people who “make it” from the ones that “don’t” is mainly based on how well they deal with dips in performance.

It is so easy getting boosted when things are going well (and you finally get a taste for success). You get the feeling that you’ve finally built up a system around you that works and training feels “easy breezy” because everything “just works”. And it sure doesn’t seem to hurt your self esteem that you are getting a stream of likes and loving comments on the picture you probably just posted of your horse with a big bow and yourself on the podium.πŸ†πŸ… It feels wonderful. The world seems wonderful and the success seems to attract countless new and exciting opportunities. There is no shame in that. And undoubtedly success does lead to more success.

But what happens when you fail?

It will happen sooner or later. Eventually you will be in a dip. Especially if your dealing with horses. (They are big yet incredibly fragile creatures with a mind of their own. Not machines!)

Well.. It’s not easy and it’s something that I have thought long and hard about during the past 3 weeks since Popgun’s accident.

My conclusion is quite simple. It doesn’t even much matter if it’s your own fault or not. The best thing you can do can be summarized like this:

1) Learn!

2) Let it go!

3) Look forward!

But how does one continue to find inspiration when everything feels like πŸ’©? This is what I think is key in order to look forward. (And it’s something that I am personally struggling with now.)

When you are done over analyzing what happened, have let the bad things go and are starting to look forward.. the best thing you can do is to remind yourself why you love what you are doing.:

4) Love!

And no! I have no form of respect for people who loose all their love for their horse after one bad competition. That is not what I am talking about! Those people are jerks. (And they have no clue what love is. Horses are not machines and accidents happen, as I have already said.)

What I mean is that you need to remind yourself why you love your sport and you need to find ways to rekindle your passion and find inspiration.

(I am going to assume that you are not a jerk and that your love for your horse is not based on amount of prize bows won. Love should be unconditional, in my opinion at least.πŸ’›πŸ¦„)

Finding new ways to make the training feel fun and effortless is a good idea. You need to push yourself past the dark corners of your mind that tell you that “you’ll never make it”.

Always remember:

  • Your failure is just a bump in the road! There will probably be many more, so learn to deal with them by channeling your emotions! πŸ”πŸŽ 
  • Listen to podcasts or audio books while doing mindless stable chores.πŸŽ™πŸ“±
  • Read! Doesn’t have to be about your own discipline. πŸ“–πŸ“™
  • Talk! Talk until your voice doesn’t work anymore. πŸ‘„πŸ—―
  • Ask parents or friends to join you at the stable to keep you company.πŸ‘«πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦
  • Treat your team with kindness! It is most likely not their fault and if it is.. people make mistakes! πŸ™πŸ»πŸ’›
  • Make sure you are eating properly. (I am not the only person that gets cranky when I am hungry.) πŸ˜‚πŸ‹
  • Diamonds are just coal before they get under pressure! (You are the diamond.)πŸ’ŽπŸ’°
  • Spend time doing something you really love doing (riding, braiding, brushing, matching equipment and outfits, take pictures, editing pictures, drawing, painting nails. Anything that gets you away from ice cream and crying in front of Netflix, even though that is fine too sometimes.)🎭🎬
  • Force yourself to keep up with boring tasks. (Don’t kill your plants and try to keep your apartment clean.)🌬🌱
  • Plan for future competitions. Make a training schedule to match your plans.πŸ†πŸ…
  • Don’t expect miracles over night but don’t change all of your long term goals. Your dreams are still possible as long as you don’t give up!

And last but not least:

  • Love yourself! These things happen to everyone. No matter what you read on social media. Promise!πŸ₯πŸ€

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One foot in front of the other

I felt like a zombie when I woke up today and I am still extremely tired. Some days are all about just putting one foot in front of the other. It is our stable weekend but I had to stay up late last night and study. So this morning, Adam and I got up early and fed all 12 ponies at the stable and let them out. Happy ponies.πŸ’›

Before leaving, we cleaned all 4 of our boxes and changed our water buckets. Now I am going to eat breakfast and get cleaned up. The rest of the day is dedicated to schoolwork. Yeah!πŸ˜‚

The cherry on topπŸ’πŸ¨

I feel like I am flying on pink little fluffy clouds after today’s dressage lessons with Arshaq and Shahina.πŸ¦„β˜οΈπŸ™πŸ»πŸ’“

At 11 am earlier today, Shahina stood saddled and ready for a lesson with me and our dressage trainer Per. The horses usually ride light dressage at least once a week but not so often for a trainer since he lives far away.

We worked a lot on increasing the pace, circles, shoulder in, leg yields, transitions between canter and trot and we also worked a little on sitting down, which I don’t do very often unless I am riding bareback.

Per’s words about the training were: “this went over expected.”

And I couldn’t agree more. I have owned Shahina for 12 years now.. so I know her very well.. but she turns 26 years old this year.

She is very active for her age, but I don’t usually put a lot of pressure on her.

I must confess, I don’t always choose to saddle her when I ride her myself and I only sometimes choose to ride with a bridle on instead of a halter. I don’t think that’s how dressage riders usually ride. But I am not a dressage rider. And I haven’t really cared what equipment she wears, as long as she is happy. πŸ˜‚ So it was fun riding a lesson with a trainer and feeling that so many things “clicked”. Even though I wasn’t expecting miracles.

Our lesson was almost 1 hour long, including warm up. After, we jogged around on loose reins and I then unsaddled her and went for a 15 minute bareback cool down walk in the beautiful weather.

She looked pretty fancy today, all glammed up in a new bridle. But I think I need to put new holes in the leather because the silly noseband seemed to be sliding around on her “little” nose. πŸ¦„πŸ‘‘

At about 12.15 pm Shahina got to eat her lunch, finally.πŸ¦„ Then I brought in, brushed and saddled Arshaq just in time to be in the saddle at 1 pm. Ready for my lesson with baby.

My dad was nice and stayed to take pictures of Arshaq’s lesson too and Adam had driven out just to be there as back up. But Arshaq was very relaxed today and almost everything felt really great, even though we had some problems that Per helped us work out. πŸ‡πŸΌπŸ’­

The main things I was told to think about was to make sure to close my hand, look at my hand to see that I was keeping the contact, increase the trot, be more firm, keep up the even tempo and to ride a little bit more, basically.

I see now in the pictures that the hand watching thing really got me leaning forward, even though it felt like I wasn’t. πŸ˜‚ So I will need to remember that!

I was so pleased with my Chuckles! I almost cried, because I was so happy afterwards. When he is listening and relaxed, one can really start to enjoy his gates that feel silky and light: like riding a cloud. I love him so much, so this meant a lot to me! πŸ¦πŸ’›

We celebrated with lots of petting and I offered some carrots that I had brought, which were very appreciated. Arshaq still seems to think that it is very practical to carry me as a little carrot dispensing machine?πŸ₯•πŸ¦

ArChuckles and I then got to go for a little cool down walk in the summer pasture. Riding a relaxed Arshaq out on that wide open field after a great dressage lesson felt like putting a really sweet cherry on top of an ice cream sundae. πŸ’πŸ¨

We finished up with some brushing and carrot stretching before baby got to go back out into the pasture. Both of us very happy and carefree.πŸŽ΅πŸ¦„

I was tired after working hard during the lessons but I don’t think the following stable chores have ever felt so easy and fun. Some days are better than others.πŸ™πŸ»πŸ†

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Rise and shine πŸ’Ž

Just got back to my apartment after feeding, letting out all the 12 ponies and sweeping out the stable. πŸŽπŸ’¨πŸŒͺ🍏

Now I get to eat my own breakfast before my first dressage training that starts at 11am. I think I am going to ride Shahina first, but I am not quite sure yet.πŸ¦„πŸ My dad is going to pick me up, so I hope that he will bring one of his cameras and maybe film or take pictures. πŸ‡πŸΌβœ¨πŸ’›πŸŽ¬πŸŽ₯πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸŒΎ

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Chasing daylight

We rushed out as soon as we could today to see some daylight during our ride.πŸžπŸ¦„πŸ™πŸ»β„οΈπŸ‘‘

Matilda rode Shahina and I rode Poppy.πŸΌπŸ‘‘ We went up to the woods and were out for something like 1 hour and 20 minutes.πŸ¦„πŸ™πŸ»

Popgun was very happy to just go walking with Shahina but we also mixed in some more trotting than what we’ve been doing.πŸ’› They were starting to get a little competitive at times but it wasn’t hard to keep the tempo slow, even though Poppy wasn’t wearing a bit.

After, I spent about 35 minutes lunging and messing around with Arshaq.🍼🦁 We started off with just walking around but Arshaq found that quite boring so I had to think of other things for us to do. I lunged him around in circles, got him to walk and trot next to me in straight lines, practiced stopping, moving away, backing and turning. By the end I was quite tired.πŸ˜‚πŸ˜¬

My only plan for the rest of the evening is to study and to get to bed reasonably early. Tomorrow, I am responsible for feeding and letting out all 12 horses at the stable so I have to get up quite early.

I am also planing on taking lessons on both Arshaq and Shahina from our dressage trainer Per. So it’s best to be well rested.

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These boots were made for..

I am taking it very slowly forward with Popgun since he kicked himself with the ice stud almost 3 weeks ago. So we’ve mostly been riding at a walk for the past 1,5 weeks. That sure is better than boxrest and walks by hand, but.. πŸ˜‚πŸ™„

I should be used to walking by now since I do endurance, duh. We do a lot of walking to build up, specially in the winter.β„οΈπŸŽ 

We have all been told how important walking sessions are, no matter what discipline you do, but they are not always very exciting.πŸŒπŸ‘€

One thing that helps me to keep up the motivation is to ride in the woods and do some extra climbing.πŸ’πŸΌπŸŽ πŸŒΏπŸ”That way, there are more interesting things to see for both horse and rider and you both also need to spend more time thinking about where they put their feet! πŸ‘ βœ¨

You could also try singing but watch out for lurking joggers.😳🎡 Been there and done that.

Popgun enjoyed today’s slow ride, even if it was only 70 minutes short.🍿🐼

We started off today’s ride by going down a path that usually is off limits because of the sensitive ground. The snow means that we are allowed to ride there. But there were so many frozen puddles, sticks, uneven ground, trees, holes and other things blocking our way. So we turned back after only 5 minutes or less.🌿🏞

Instead, we climbed up to the regular woods. Popgun is looking so gorgeously straight forward in this picture because a big herd of deer decided to bounce out in front of us. πŸ¦ŒπŸ’¨πŸ˜πŸ”

The view from on top is beautiful.πŸžπŸ”

Once we got back, Popgun got to go out inte the pasture again.πŸ₯•πŸ’‹

Shahina and I then joined Mom and Nipeta again for a nice 2 hour long ride, but sadly it was spent in the dark.πŸ¦„πŸ˜‚πŸŒ“βœ¨πŸ’›

After finishing up at the stablework, Popgun got me to spend a long time cuddling. What a little Sweetie. πŸ’›

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Happy unicorns πŸ¦„

It’s nice being greeted this way πŸ’›

Now Poppy and I are going to go for a ride!

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Arshaq’s first outdoor adventure in ages

Arshaq loves going on adventures.🦁✨

I hadn’t ridden out with Arshaq in a while since he has been so overly excited after the winter rest. Remember, we have no place to ride out without cars.

But now we have gotten out most of the excess energy and Arshaq has been very well behaved while doing dressage, so it was finally time to get to go out riding outside again!πŸ™πŸ»

Nevertheless, I wanted Adam and Shahina to come along as back up. Adam and Arshaq get along so well and Shahina has a calming influence on all of us. Perfect combination. And this way, I got out two ponies at once. πŸ¦„πŸ‘‘πŸ₯•πŸ’πŸ»β€β™‚️

So we set off by foot in the early afternoon and the first 20 minute walk along the road passed without incident. A couple of cars passed by but Arshaq didn’t seem to notice. We used to have some issues with meeting new horses but Arshaq barely looked as we passed the neighboring stable’s pastures. Awesome.🐎 πŸ¦πŸ™πŸ»βœ¨

We got off the car road and onto to the small path but I decided to wait with mounting until we had walked up the small mountain to the woods. πŸ”πŸŽ  I is quite a steep climb but it was probably most exhausting for Adam and myself since we were both wearing a lot of winter clothes.πŸ˜‚β„οΈ

We followed the small path through the woods and got to a ditch. πŸŒΏβ„οΈ Arshaq looked surprisingly graceful as he jumped over it. (It wasn’t very deep but deep enough for us.) Baby is usually graceful but I didn’t really appreciate that he was that elegant while jumping.πŸ˜‚

I then finally got on and Adam continued walking with Shahina. That path is quite good/bad depending on how you look at it. It is impossible to trot in most places but it is excellent training to get the ponies to pick up their feet over the many roots and rocks! Awesomeness.πŸŒΏπŸ”

Eventually we turned on to a dirt road and I got off, feeling very happy about our ride! πŸ¦πŸ’›

The plan was to be out for 60 minutes and we had ridden almost 40 minutes. On schedule, but it was time to get back so we started heading down to the asphalt road. But Arshaq kept looking back and taking notice of something interesting. I knew that it was probably the horses in the pasture around the corner so we turned around and walked toward them. I didn’t want to get on to the car road when he was excited and it felt like good practice for him to get to look at new horses.πŸ΄πŸ‘€

Sure enough, the horses in the pasture were very interested in what we were doing. We continued walking past them calmly and Arshaq settled down. Shahina took little to no notice during any of this. πŸ˜‚πŸ‘‘

We turned around and headed back to the stable again once everything felt calm and easy again. This time he barely looked at the horses in the pasture and we walked down to the asphalt road. Adam and I switched horses since I started feeling anxious about the road and I didn’t want my fear of cars to rub off on Arshaq.πŸ’πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ¦

On the walk back, Arshaq was a tiny bit more eager than on the way out but he didn’t get spooked by any of the cars. Thankfully they all passed us reasonably slowly after a good bit of anxious waving from me.🚘

We caught the attention of a very cute and fluffy fox that crossed the road in front of us. It seemed uncertain wether we were a danger or not but eventually scurried away into the bushes.πŸ¦ŠπŸ˜‚

The biggest challenge came at the end. The big, creaky school buss! Luckily, we could step off the road and it could pass us calmly and Arshaq didn’t seem to notice it. Baby is not scared of conventional things, after all. πŸšŒπŸ¦πŸ’›πŸ˜‚

A simple map of our adventure. πŸ˜‚

Once we got back, we had been out for almost 20 minutes longer than planned so we quickly did water and got Arshaq and Shahina out to the pasture. I was in quite a hurry to get to my evening course in Entrepreneurship since my group was meeting early to start discussing an assignment.πŸ“™

So I called my poor Dad, who was willing to help clean boxes so that mom didn’t have to do so much by herself. That was so nice of them. πŸ’›

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